Technology

Cheap Android smartphones to claim nearly a third of world market by 2016

October 24, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 24 — Demand from the Asia Pacific region, the Middle East and Latin America is fuelling the growth of the low-cost smartphone market as well as manufacturers’ use of the Android operating system.

Because it’s open source, Android is the perfect operating system for building low-cost smartphones for emerging markets. — Picture courtesy of ©AndroidBecause it’s open source, Android is the perfect operating system for building low-cost smartphones for emerging markets. — Picture courtesy of ©AndroidLow-cost smartphones look to be a key driver of spreading the technology and of bringing mobile connectivity to users worldwide. According to the latest figures from NPD Group released on Oct 22, shipments of sub-US$150 (RM459) handsets has been doubling year-on-year since 2010 and the trend looks set to continue until 2016, when shipments are expected to hit 311 million.

Demand is being driven by the Asia Pacific region (60 per cent of shipments) but growth is also occurring in the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

“Most mobile phone subscribers around the world can’t afford to spend more than US$200 for a smartphone, on top of their service plans,” noted Shawn Lee, Research Director at NPD DisplaySearch.

“Low-cost smartphone manufacturers create these new products quickly without much investment, which has allowed them to extend their telecom subscriber base to emerging regions.”

And as this growth in low-cost handset continues, so will the use of Google’s Android as their operating system.

As it is open source, it is the ideal operating system for entry-level phones.

Sub-$200 Android phones currently account for 2 per cent of total worldwide smartphone shipments.

However, by 2016 low-cost Android phones alone could account for up to 29 per cent of global smartphone shipments, or the equivalent of the entire worldwide smartphone market in 2010. — Reuters